Since we founded Zvents in 2005, our vision has been to power the “facts” of events behind every different presentation, in every media outlet. For many of our 300+ media partners, we provide a complete application, in several different forms. Many of you are familiar with the Classic layout- it’s the one most of our partner sites use, such as the events section on SFGate.com. It’s a clean, easy to read layout that’s served Zvents faithfully for a long time, and is going strong on most of our partner sites.
Another interface you’ll be familiar with is the new layout on Zvents.com. This one has all the same content, search, and functionality, but also has a lot of neat upgrades like simplified search input, better search results and larger images all around. It started out on Zvents, and we’re getting close to deploying it on a lot of our partners. In fact, GuideLive.com in Dallas is running some beta tests for us, and wow, does it looks sharp in their colors! Go check out their beautiful new events page!
But a common platform, no matter how powerful and flexible, only gets you so far. And our vision has always been to be everywhere. So what about places that really like to mix things up on their events page, and have event listings right next to their headlines and blogs? First, we’ve got widgets, which allow partners like Richmond.com’s events page to build a really neat page, simply by mixing different Zvents widgets with their own content to make for a truly unique experience. SFGate.com’s front page is certainly more news-based (it is a front page, after all) but they have a Zvents widget called Things To Do right there on the right rail as well. Classy, understated and very, very useful.
Finally, we have our API partners. These guys use our events index and search functionality to power completely custom products which they design, giving them enormous flexibility. A prominent example of a site that uses the Zvents API is Bing.com’s events section. It looks nothing like Zvents, but delivers great user functionality in a sleek search package.
Some great examples… but these are all websites, and there’s more to ‘everywhere’ than the Web. How about the iPad? Check out TapInBayArea.com’s iPad app that we talked about in our last post. It’s a fast, sleek mobile platform for the iPad that lets you find their news content and Zvents’ event content side-by-side.
There are many, many other Zvents partners out there (over three hundred, and more every day), and they all have their own unique sites and apps. The one thing they have in common is that they all use the best events service in the world to help you find cool stuff to do.
Today I had the pleasure of testing the new TapIN Bay Area’s iPad App. The app, created by the Bay Area News Group, brings a number of their local partners to tablet form. In addition to the deals, businesses, news stories, gigs and more, the app lets you search the Zvents Media Network for things to do by tapping on a map of the area.
My first impression of the app was that it’s very pretty, and the easy zooming and dragging of the map is going to be intuitive to anyone who’s ever used an iPad. You can find details on the website, or in the Apple store.
In time, we look forward to more apps coming out from our partners focused in relevant, local and interesting entertainment and event listings.
Here’s a screen shot. Click the image to see what happens if you tap that little blue “more” arrow in the middle!
See that orange “sponsored” note in the corner of the top ad in the right rail? That’s what Sponsorship does: it gets your listing right on top!
Zvents may power over 300 newspapers and media sites across the US, and host listings for events all around the world, but we still like getting together for regular all-hands meetings and sharing some tasty Mediterranean food.
Earlier this week we had one of our lunch meetings, and Jeff (our Director of Service Operations) brought out his camera for a group photo. We thought our readers might be curious to see the faces that power event listings for 300+ newspapers and other media partners and proving that we’ve got what it takes to change the world of events.
(click the image to see it in full size)
If we look north from the 8th floor Zvents offices in San Mateo, we can see San Francisco 19 miles away, and to the south we see San Jose. We’re right between one of the famous entertainment hubs of the West Coast and the capital of Silicon Valley, the cradle of the internet. Socially, metaphorically, and geographically, that’s right where we want to be: with great things happening all around us and the internet to spread those things around the world.
But how does that affect us as a company and as people? It can be hard for us to remember that just because Outside Lands is happening right in our backyard, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Most people can’t just hop on their local transit system and ride into San Francisco to go see the show, and what’s more, many people don’t care. They care what’s happening in their own backyards, not in ours. Sure, sometimes it’s great to pile in a car and drive halfway across the state to be part of something big, but most days that’s not going to happen. Going down to your local park with your family, or the farmer’s market with friends this weekend, better fits the realities of your life.
To us, all these events and the people who want to do them are important. Obviously, we like things that happen in our own backyard, but we also want you to know what’s happening in yours. We’re half San Francisco, and half San Jose. Because of that, we try have events of all sizes on the Zvents network, from tiny little cafes with local bands, to huge international music festivals, from softball games to the World Series. It’s not always easy, but with San Francisco inspiring us in the north, and San Jose in the south letting us build the tools to do it, we’re succeeding. And we’re happy you’re here with us, using Zvents, posting events, giving feedback, and finding stuff to do right in your own back yard.
One of the questions we get a lot here at Zvents is how many people can actually see a given listing? The first answer, of course, is a whole lot. The second answer is, well, it’s complicated.
Overall, the Zvents Media Network is huge. We have over 300 partners, and the networked recently logged over 13 million individual users. You can find a list of all our partners on our Media Partners page, and of course our total numbers are being tracked by Quantcast.
So where do things get complicated? When you start to break down where a given listing is visible. See, all our partners use the same network, so if you put a listing on Boston.com you’ll also be able to find it on SF Gate. In that sense, it’s everywhere!
That having been said, nobody wants their local listings buried in a pile of listings from out of state. Because of this, each partner site has their own home area that they get to control. Some are bigger, some are smaller, but if you just search for a type of listing (say, “blues”), the default will be to only show events that are happening in that area.
So how do you find listings from other areas? Simple: you just put an area in the “near” field. That field overrides the home area of a partner site, and instead searches whatever city or neighborhood you put in. This way, you can be in Boston and use your local partner site to plan your vacation to San Francisco.
So where does that leave Zvents.com? Well, we run all these sites, and although we’re based in California, we don’t have a home area. Instead, the site will guess your local area, and then let you search anywhere you like. Go ahead- have a try!
My Dad used to always say that change is the only constant. He would usually say this with a sigh when things didn’t go as planned. For him, change was mostly a challenge requiring additional effort in an already overwhelming day.
It’s no surprise that I feel differently about change. I work in an Internet start-up after all, where change is at the heart of everything we do, and where change can’t seem to come fast enough. Truth be told, at Zvents, we’re change junkies, because the world of local entertainment is fast-paced and ever-changing by its very nature.
And that’s what makes it so exciting. Every day we see thousands of new events and activities shared on our site. Which means there are literally hundreds of cool, fun, interesting and unique things for you to discover that you can do tonight, tomorrow and this weekend in your City and neighborhood.
Our job at Zvents is to make it easy for you to find the good stuff, so you can get out there and have fun.
I’m excited to see it’s time again for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival here in San Francisco. I’m not a rabid fan of bluegrass music, to be perfectly honest. But I went with my family last year and we all had a terrific time hanging out in Golden Gate Park with a picnic lunch, enjoying the great music with the super mellow and friendly crowd.
This year, the Flatlanders are scheduled to play Saturday evening on the Arrow stage (one of six stages set up in Speedway Meadows). Here’s a video of them on Austin City Limits.
Tonight, over on the other side of the bay in Oakland, there is a great Improv Comedy show “Tonight’s Town” featuring The Afters. The Pan Theater is located on Broadway in downtown Oakland, just two blocks from the 19th Street BART station.
Enjoy the weekend!